Being diagnosed with diabetes and then planning and following a diet and lifestyle regime on an everyday basis draws its inspiration from a well-established support from loving family members. This constant support and encouragement from family members acts as a magic potion for diabetics who are not only able to better adhere to their medications (without considering the medicines as a burden) but also remain mentally strong and healthy throughout their routine with diabetes.
More than the physical and financial impact of type 2 diabetes, in most cases studied by experts, the emotional and psychological health gets badly impacted. As family members, it is important to understand the state of mind of your diabetic loved one and offer comforting guidance to keep them positive about their condition and prevent them from seeing it as a challenge.
More than knowing what to do, it is more important to know what not to do. Let’s take a look:
- Avoid playing a doctor to your diabetic family member unless you are qualified as one. Many beliefs about diabetes which are followed in society are already outdated and will only confuse the person, increasing the chances of irritating them.
- Avoid comparing with your other family members with diabetes. You may mean well and try to prevent the diabetic patient from facing any difficulty but they certainly don’t want to know about other people’s horror stories of diabetes related complications.
- Don’t stare while the diabetic patient is pricking finger to take readings or taking insulin injections if you cannot stand the sight of blood. It is difficult for the diabetic patient to go through this procedure, don’t make it worse for them.
- The most helpful thing you can do for them is to stop giving them orders. There are times when the person will not obey the diet, lifestyle or medications prescribed and that is when you need to be gentle with them.
- Keep asking how you can help in order to ensure your diabetic family member is at ease. Don’t make them feel like a severely ill patient but instead ask them if they want to visit the doctor or have a healthy diet.
- Make them feel empowered by showing you care. Give them an encouraging hug or gift them something for their small achievements in managing diabetes every day. Sit and listen to their concerns and help them learn more about diabetes.
- Become their diabetes buddy or partner and offer to join them for a walk or a quick outdoor game. Suggest opting for a lunch or dinner that offers a healthier choice in a restaurant. Join in with them in their healthy diet and lifestyle changes for better involvement from their end in doing the same.
- Help them understand that managing diabetes is an all-round commitment involving how much they eat, their exercising regime, medications, avoiding stress etc. and acknowledge their efforts at doing this consistently.
Monitoring blood glucose levels with your compact glucometer is the most essential part you can help your family member understand. Dealing with a diabetic family member should be carried out gently and politely, because no one wants to be treated like a patient in the first place.
Help your diabetic family member become self-sufficient in diabetes care by connecting them to their personalized diabetes educator occasionally so that they are satisfied that expert help is just a phone call away. You, as a family member, may also learn a lot of new things in the process. Sometimes your own views may differ with the diabetic family member. Be careful not to hurt their sentiments while bridging the gap in such a case.
Contributing Writer: Aishani Gupta